The Calgary Flames have 13 pending restricted free agents on their reserve list right now. The compensation levels for signing other team’s RFAs to offer sheets have been set and it’s likely that the Flames won’t be getting involved in any of that stuff this off-season.
Via TSN’s Gord Miller, the terms for the 2019-20 offer sheet compensation:
Offer sheet compensation has been set for 2019/20
$1,395,053 or below: None
$4,227,438-$6,341,152: 1st, 3rd
$6,341,153-$8,454,871: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
2 1sts , 2nd, 3rd
$10,568,590+: 4 1sts
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) May 3, 2019
Over the past two CBAs (2005 to present) only eight players league-wide have signed an offer sheet. Seven of those eight situations saw the team match the offer sheet – including the 2013 instance where the Flames had Ryan O’Reilly accept their offer sheet, only for the Colorado Avalanche to match it (and the Flames avoiding losing O’Reilly on waivers due to a gross misunderstanding of a clause in the not-yet-finalized CBA).
The one instance of a team not matching the offer sheet is the Edmonton Oilers signing Dustin Penner away from the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 – the Ducks received first, second and third round picks in the 2008 NHL Draft. (Fun fact: that offer sheet resulted in Brian Burke’s infamous “barn fight” request/threat to Oilers executive Kevin Lowe.)
One of the things that make offer sheeting an RFA challenging is that your team needs to have all the picks when they tender the offer, and the picks need to be the team’s original picks. If the Flames were to offer sheet Mitch Marner at a $7.5 million AAV, for example, they would need to use their own first, second and third round picks in 2020 to do so.
Therein lies the big difficulty for the Flames. They don’t really have the cap space moving forward into 2019-20 to make a big splash with offer sheeting RFAs – even if it was part of the norms of the NHL’s general managers to do so – and they’ve traded away so many draft picks over the past two or three seasons that they really need to hold onto their picks to replenish their entry level system.
No cap space and a prospect system that gets pretty lean after the likes of Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki adds up to what’s likely to be yet another summer of the Flames avoiding offer sheets. It’s probably for the best, too – they narrowly dodged a bullet with the O’Reilly offer sheet and they’re likely better off avoiding any more CBA rabbit holes.